The Corruption of Decency

Update: take a gander at this clip from Morning Joe—it sets the stage for this post fairly well…

Everything after the 12-minute mark GOT me, especially at 13:05.

My MiL and grandma got into a bit of a debate on FB (shocking, right?) when the former posted something very similar to this:

There were also:

  • xenophobic
  • homophobic, and
  • misogynist

components thrown in there, too… just, ya know, in keeping with all the gross stuff he’s said since creeping his way into politics.

My grandma, a drumpf supporter, took offense and mentioned that she couldn’t possibly be any of those things because she has biracial kids & takes it personally, especially because she loves her Heather so much.

She had the same reaction when I talked about a time I was harassed at Navarro’s Waxahachie campus when a fellow professor found out I have a gf, saying that she wished she could protect me from all those people and their hurtfulness.

She misunderstood, as I think most people do when I share those types of stories. I don’t need protection or pity. I share that bs because it is bs, and it shows how stupidity and ignorance are real & will touch the people you know and care about.

I don’t need to be protected. But I do wish those people weren’t so empowered/more aware of how wrong and unacceptable they are.

And I wish more of my fellow citizens and family and friends saw how they enable prejudice and discrimination, and why so many people agree with the post above.

Complicity doesn’t have to rise to the level of actual participation in wrongdoing; it is merely the association with wrongful acts. So, like with the hens on Facebook, my grandma sees discrimination as bad and acknowledges its deleterious effect on someone she cares about, but – like with the politically-empowered minority – fails to see how her political alignment makes her look.

Support for drumpf has become synonymous with being anti-Others [refers back to the list of dog-whistly crap he’s spewed… and this stuff… oh, and here], especially on the back of his party’s stance on equality.

And I think party politics has a lot more to do with it than failures of reason, empathy, intellect, etc… being associated with one party makes people feel certain ways about themselves, and the meanings of political terms has been corrupted & turned into religious, social, personal labels which people take very seriously.

And here’s what I mean by that:

Conservative, when it comes to government, should mean that a person feels as though the government should not take too much of a role in dictating peoples’ lives, should not spend too much money or offer very many programs and services, etc. This stems from the very inception of the US government.

However, political operatives for the republicans aligned with religious leaders in our not-so-distant past. Start at 23:56 (then go back and watch the whole thing—it’s one of my faves):

On Feb. 1, 2019, I stood in my grandma’s kitchen and atarted a sentence with somethibg along the lines of, “Well, Conservatives…”

And she cut me right off with: I’M A CONSERVATIVE, SO… TREAD LIGHTLY.

I wanted to explain the history and development of the label, and how social issues have started to cloud people’s understanding… but I’d be better off using that oxygen to blow up the party balloons for my mom’s surprise birthday we were about to go set up. What do I know anyway? I just spent 10 years of my life studying government and politics…

And it’s been proven over and over that people are willing to overlook suckiness and defend their awful political leaders, as long as they have the “correct” letters inside the parenthesis after their names.

In the same way that religion has become associated with politics, their support has “a religious quality” that leads them to defend the president almost as a matter of faith.

But the same adherence religion requires is toxic when it comes to government/politics. The ugliness is contagious & creates a coarseness that leads to unintelligent confrontation.

Our leaders should make us better; not worse.

Our leaders should set examples of how to be; not set people up to make false equivalences and concessions about decency.

And if you think I only mean this negatively about Republicans, check yourself. The labels we use are minimizing & limit our ability to get to the truth.